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Shion had been in the middle of dribbling milk into a cup of tea when the front door was thrown open and then slammed shut with all the force of the wind and rain currently hammering all the windows of the flat. Now he had an overflowing cup of lukewarm, tea-flavoured milk and a countertop covered in the same, dripping slowly over the edge and onto the much-abused kitchen rug.

"Bring me a towel, would you," called Nezumi. Shion sighed and dropped the dishrag over the worst of the spill.

"Welcome home," Shion told him, turning towards the door. Nezumi stood on the entrance mat, which already looked close to waterlogged, undoing his ponytail. "Didn't you take an umbrella?"

Nezumi indicated his, folded and dropped on the mat, with a booted foot. "Doesn't really do much when there's a fucking typhoon going on."

"It's not a typhoon," Shion corrected, leaving Nezumi momentarily for the bathroom. He came back with two of the medium-sized towels, and dropped one directly atop Nezumi's wet mess of hair. "They don't get those here. The weather reports say—"

"Then all those meteorologists should be out in it, in the damn not-typhoon," snorted Nezumi. He was rubbing the towel about his head in a manner that would have him complaining about tangles in another ten minutes. "Believe me, I know my shitty weather. This is a typhoon."

"What's your rubric? If it soaks you, it's a typhoon? Is there something about taking regular showers that you want to tell me about?" Shion teased. Nezumi flung the towel at him in reply. Shion caught it easily, and gave Nezumi the second one. "Here, trade you your jacket and umbrella, I'll hang them over the bathtub."

"I'm gonna leave my boots on the mat," Nezumi informed him, as Shion hurried off with Nezumi's waterlogged things. "So don't get pissy about me not putting them away properly or whatever."

"Do you think it's bad luck if I open the umbrella," Shion called out, holding it uncertainly over the bathtub.

"How else will it dry, oh master of science?"

Point, thought Shion, pressing the button to open it. The bathroom thus decorated with an umbrella sitting in the bathtub and a jacket dangling from the showerhead, Shion made his way back to the kitchen with the intention of cleaning up his spill.

"You made tea," Nezumi greeted. He was leaned against the fridge, long legs sticking out far enough to force Shion to step over them in order to enter the galley kitchen. "Or a radical interpretation of tea. Does your oeuvre have a title?"

"Nezumi Doesn't Know How to Close Doors Civilly," Shion replied, picking up the abandoned dishrag and wringing it out in the sink. Nezumi scrunched up his nose in disapproval.



"Make me a cup? The traditional kind, not whatever new age thing you were going for," Nezumi stipulated, pushing off the fridge and making his way into Shion's personal space as Shion finished soaking up the last of the spill.

"You're dripping on me," said Shion. Nezumi's nose was cold against the back of his neck.

"And you say you have no knack for dirty talk," purred Nezumi. Shion found himself mysteriously leaning backwards, right against Nezumi's chest, through no will of his own. Phenomena like that had a habit of occurring where Nezumi was concerned. "Earl Grey?"

"What happened to 'Your Majesty'," Shion frowned, folding the dishrag neatly over the double sink's divider. Nezumi laughed into his shoulder.

"The tea, Shion."

"Technically, you should make the tea for both of us," noted Shion. He took a bit of solace in the fact that Nezumi couldn't see his blush, even though he likely knew it was happening all the same. "Given that your door-slamming ruined my first attempt."

"You know," Nezumi drawled, "you used to be a lot nicer to me when I was wet and miserable."

"You're miserable?" Shion turned around, giving Nezumi a once-over. His hair was dripping and his hands were probably cold where they'd been shoved into his trouser pockets, but it was an unconvincing portrayal otherwise.

"Nah, but I could work up to it, if you wanted." He bent down dutifully to receive Shion's answering kiss. "Tea?"

"All right," Shion conceded. He interrupted whatever smug rejoinder Nezumi had planned by stealing another kiss. "Go comb your hair out, it's going to be awful if you don't."

"You sound like your mama," remarked Nezumi, obediently retreating from the kitchen.

"You like my mom, how is that an insult," Shion said, though mostly to the kettle. He wondered if maybe they should get an electric one, if all this rain and wind was to persist into winter.

He had the teapot, two mugs, the sugar bowl and a bag of Earl Grey at the ready by the time the kettle began whistling.

"Water's boiling," Nezumi's voice informed him, coming from their living room on the other side of the wall.

"I wouldn't have guessed," Shion replied. "Can I give you two sugar or are you going to accuse me of trying to put you in a diabetic coma again?"

"Perhaps," said Nezumi, vaguely. Shion rolled his eyes and added two heaping spoonfuls to Nezumi's mug, and one to his own. "Oh, and a bit of milk, too, if you haven't used it all feeding the counter."
Shion kept his thoughts on that to himself.

Entering the living room, Shion found Nezumi seated not on the couch but the floor, legs stretched out underneath the coffee table. He'd cleared a tiny space amid the books and Shion's usual mess of printed and photocopied paraphernalia that Shion understood was meant for a single mug of tea.

He set Nezumi's down and gestured at his own. Nezumi sniffed but dutifully piled two books atop each other to accommodate it. He leaned forward to sip at his tea without picking it up while Shion settled in by his side. "Shit, that's hot."

"Hot beverages often are," Shion said. "So is there something wrong with the couch?"

"Easier to drink and read this way." Nezumi eyed him sidelong. "Or it will be, once your nuclear tea simmers down."

"My tea is perfectly fine," sighed Shion. "You're overly critical."

"Overly nothing," Nezumi scoffed. He picked up a random book from the coffee table's pile, under the pretense of ignoring Shion. Shion found it easy enough to wriggle his way underneath Nezumi's arm and sling a leg over his lap in order to straddle it. The book fell back onto the stack from whence it came with an anticlimactic thump. "I guess I have to be bleeding out to get your sympathy these days."


"I've been downgraded from hot cocoa to tea," Nezumi evaded Shion's attempt to bite the tip of his nose, "told off about the difference between typhoons and whatever-the-fuck is going on outside, and pretty much rebuffed at every turn. It's all very upsetting."

"Would it make you feel better if I told you we can still play doctor?" Shion countered, nothing childish at all in the tone of his voice, the press of his hips, or the slide of his hands up underneath Nezumi's shirt. "Or even if you wanted to pin me down."

"For nostalgia's sake," Nezumi breathed.

"Well, strictly speaking, we never—"

"We do now," said Nezumi, with finality. "And speaking of now, we can either make out or sip our tea together like old people, dealer's choice."

"Nezumi, such romance!"

"Such goddamn lip," growled Nezumi, capturing said lip between his teeth at first and then, at Shion's happy hum, softening to let it press against his own, sweetly.

Nezumi's hair was still holding on to traces of rainwater, wetting Shion's fingers with every stroke.

"You'll tangle it again," Nezumi warned.

"It's cute like that," grinned Shion. It took a certain commitment to make Nezumi's hair hold a kink under normal conditions, and Shion was not one to miss opportunities. "All mussed up and—"

"I need a trim." Shion pulled back in alarm. "What, you think my split ends are sexy, too?"

"I might," said Shion. He leaned away from Nezumi's next kiss.

"Shion," Nezumi intoned, peeved.

"I can't look at you while we're kissing," Shion explained, smoothing Nezumi's hair down with both hands, arranging it just so where it pooled about the tops of his shoulders. "And you're nice to look at, so that's a waste."


Shion paused in his ministrations. He allowed his hands to drop leisurely down to Nezumi's lap. "Do you really need me to stroke your ego?"

"I will accept any and all stroking you may care to engage in with my person," Nezumi declaimed, in an officious tone that probably took some effort to maintain, given that Shion was touching him through his trousers. "Read the fine print."

"Well, then. Allow me," said Shion.